Thursday, October 07, 2010

Return to Able Danger

Captain Ed's recent blurb on the Able Danger thing, including the DoD's subsequent purge of Tony Shaffer's new book for mentioning said subject, brings to mind the strange downfall of Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon, once front and center on trying to bring the case to a national audience:
Mr. Speaker, back in 1999 when I was Chair of the defense research subcommittee, the Army was doing cutting-edge work on a new type of technology to allow us to understand and predict emerging transnational terrorist threats. That technology was being done at several locations, but was being led by our Special Forces Command. The work that they were doing was unprecedented. And because of what I saw there, I supported the development of a national capability of a collaborative center that the CIA would just not accept. In fact, in November 4 of 1999, 2 years before 9/11, in a meeting in my office with the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Deputy Director of the CIA, Deputy Director of the FBI, we presented a nine-page proposal to create a national collaborative center. When we finished the brief, the CIA said we did not need that capability, and so before 9/11 we did not have it.
Later in his House speech Weldon dropped the bomb:
What I did not know, Mr. Speaker, up until June of this year, was that that secret program called Able Danger actually identified the Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda in January and February of 2000, over 1 year before 9/11 every happened. In addition, I learned that not only did we identify the Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda, but we identified Mohamed Atta as one of the members of that Brooklyn cell along with three other terrorists who were the leadership of the 9/11 attack.

I have also learned, Mr. Speaker, that in September of 2000, again, over 1 year before 9/11, that Able Danger team attempted on three separate occasions to provide information to the FBI about the Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda, and on three separate occasions they were denied by lawyers in the previous administration to transfer that information.
This was a big story in the right blogosphere in 2005. A subsequent Senate investigation found that Able Danger had not identified Atta or any other 9/11 hijackers.

But in a story never really told in the national media, one year after his speech Weldon was hit with an FBI corruption investigation during the latter stages of his 2006 reelection campaign, something that certainly helped political novice and former Vice-Admiral Joe Sestak unseat the 10 term veteran in his conservative district. Oddly enough, Sestak was backed by former Clintonistas such as Sandy Socks Berger and the chief Clintonista himself.

Sure, Admiral Sestak could have ridden the 2006 anti-Bush wave to victory without help from the FBI. And granted, Weldon was at times a little bit out on the edge and is now evidently an 'arms dealer' or something. As of 2008 the investigation was still continuing. Able Danger could have simply been an exercise in hindsight or a small group with a political axe to grind.

But it doesn't help that a guy convicted of pilfering and destroying documents from the National Archives became one of the principle backers of Weldon's challenger after Weldon started speaking out against his former colleagues (and him) by suggesting a program existed that could have thwarted the attacks before Bush took office but was ignored. At last check Hillary was still dispelling rumors about being on the 2012 presidential ticket, wink, wink.

MORE 10/7/10

Additional info here, including a tape of Tony Shaffer. His takeaway--everyone at the 9/11 Commission had an agenda to cover someone's ass, according to one of the commissioners. This is quite unsurprising since the first rule of a bureaucrat or politician is to CYA. And that's likely the bottom line here--nothing nefarious, they just missed it and didn't want it surfacing after the fact.


Anonymous said...

I try, but so far have been unsuccessful to find one thing (one)(thing) I can respect about the current government. Clinton promoted Sestak, so what you are saying makes perfect sense from the standpoint of the leftist good old boys network. I simply don't understand how Sestak can live with himself.

A.C. McCloud said...

Even if one subtracts out the 2006 campaign and any nefarious conspiracies I don't see how Sestak can live with himself after that ridiculous phony-baloney explanation about how Clinton offered him the position to sit out the Senate race.

But then again, most of those dudes probably sleep very well at night.